The Dutch arm of Air France KLM reportedly offered a public apology following an online outrage due to the cabin crew behaviour with passengers from South Korea. A crew member posted a sign in Korean saying the passengers were not allowed to use the toilet because of the novel coronavirus, that has led to the death of nearly 1,500 people across the globe.
A passenger shared the image, on social media, of a handwritten sign in the Korean language that read “lavatory for crew members only”. The passenger accused the airline of discriminating against South Korean passenger since the sign was written exclusively in Korean.
A Twitter user narrated the whole incident in English and Korean which received thousands of retweets and likes, creating outrage in South Korea. According to the passenger, when her friend clicked a picture of the sign and asked the reason behind the exclusively Korean language, the cabin crew member, in an unrelated remark, said that taking photographs inside the plane was not allowed.
The passenger then requested the crew to provide the manual code where such instruction was mentioned. She looked up to the manual only to find that a person is banned from taking a photograph of another passenger without their consent. When she asked why the restroom suddenly became 'cabin crew exclusive', the crew member allegedly said, “We are protecting our cabin crew members from coronavirus carriers”.
Dear KLM @KLM— ㅎㅕㄴ모양ㅊㅓ-메인트윗 봐주세요 (@hyunmoyang) February 11, 2020
Today, you made it quite clear that you discriminate against race. Using Corona Virus as an excuse. You owe my friend and Korea a HUGE apology. #CoronaVirus #Racism #KLM https://t.co/u3eWVlFZp8 pic.twitter.com/RJj939ODLI
On February 14, KLM executives publicly apologised at a news conference in Seoul and promised that such incidents won’t occur in the future. Air France-KLM regional general manager said that they were deeply sorry that it was viewed as discrimination which was “absolutely not” the intention of the crew.
(With agency inputs)